The expression “happy as a clam” surfaced (pun intended) in the 1800’s. Some believe that it derives from the phrase “happy as a clam at high water”, since high tide is when those who love those tasty little mollusks can’t really find them. Others are of the opinion that the expression comes from the fact that an open clam kind of looks like it’s smiling. Of course when a clam in a full shell is converted to a clam on the half shell that smile quickly disappears, and is replaced by a look of abject terror. This gives rise to the lesser known expression “hysterical as a clam.”

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